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Cheesy Southwest Breakfast Casserole

Cheesy Southwest Breakfast Casserole
I’m not sure when I’ll grow too old to expect that my mother will feed me when I’m home for holidays, but it hasn’t happened yet. Every Christmas, my sisters and I, our spouses, and my nieces squeeze into my mom’s three-bedroom house and eagerly await her breakfast spread. The menu is designed to feed a hungry hoard and always includes some version of an overnight breakfast casserole. My mom has made dozens over the years, and this recipe is inspired by our favorites. With a Southwest spin, it layers chili-and-cumin-spiced ground turkey, colorful bell peppers, generous handfuls of melty Monterey Jack cheese, and corn tortillas. Assemble the night before so the tortillas soften overnight—they’ll give the casserole a rich, creamy texture reminiscent of an extra-cheesy, super-stuffed tamale. It’s devastatingly tasty, memorable, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Don’t be surprised if your weekend guests request it two mornings in a row.

This recipe is courtesy of Erin Clarke of Well Plated.

Yield: 8 servings


  • 10 large eggs
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 1 cup prepared salsa, plus additional for serving
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium green pepper, 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 red green pepper, 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 10 (6-inch) corn tortillas, cut into quarters
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 8 ounces
  • For serving:
  • Sliced avocado
  • Nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Green enchilada sauce

Preparation Instructions:

1. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and salsa. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the turkey, bell peppers, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt, and cumin. Brown the meat, breaking it into small pieces with a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, until it is cooked through and no longer pink, about 6minutes. Remove from the heat.

3. Spoon a heaping 1 cup of the meat mixture into the prepared baking dish and scatter it into an even layer (the bottom of the dish will not be completely covered). Top with half of the tortilla quarters, overlapping the pieces slightly if needed. Next, add half of the remaining meat mixture and one-third of the cheese, spreading each into an even layer. Layer on the remaining tortillas, remaining meat mixture, and the next third of the cheese. Gently pour the egg mixture over the top. Reserve the final one-third portion of the cheese in the refrigerator for baking. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

4. When ready to bake: Remove the casserole from the refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature while you preheat the oven. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Tear off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the baking dish and lightly coat one side with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the plastic from the dish, then cover the dish with the sprayed foil, sprayed-side down.

5. Bake the casserole, covered, for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle with the reserved cheese. Return to the oven and continue baking, uncovered, until the center of the casserole is set and the cheese is melted, about 20 additional minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Slice and serve hot with avocado, Greek yogurt, cilantro, and additional salsa as desired.

More About This Recipe

Brown the meat and veggies and store in the refrigerator up to 1 day in advance of assembling the casserole. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If freezing in a glass dish (such as a Pyrex), the cold dish may shatter if it’s placed directly into a hot oven. To avoid this, you can either thaw the enchiladas in the refrigerator overnight or let the dish warm up at room temperature first (the dish can be cool but not cold). Reheat in a 350-degree-F oven, either from the refrigerator or directly from frozen (no need to thaw first). Cover with foil, then bake until heated through, 20 to 30 minutes (if refrigerated) or 45 minutes (if frozen). For speedier reheating, warm individual servings in the microwave.

If you enjoyed this recipe, check out more breakfast recipes here.

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